The Fifth Wave Review

An alien race, only referred to as The Others, has attacked Earth in “The 5th Wave” using different methods to do so. These include cutting off electricity, causing natural disasters and a mega-virus. The film picks up after these first three “waves” with the character Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz), who is one of the remaining human survivors, along with her father Oliver (Ron Livingston) and her brother Sam (Zackary Arthur).

After an incident at a refugee camp for human survivors, Cassie’s family gets separated and she is sent on the run with the goal of saving her brother. Along the way she begins to learn what the 4th and 5th Waves are, that The Others are using humans as hosts and are tricking other human survivors.

While “The 5th Wave” does use a plot similar to other sci-fi flicks such as “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “The Faculty,” it still starts off strong enough. Cassie is introduced as a good protagonist and her tale of survival is engaging and exciting and made the first half or so a solid experience.

The movie begins to fall apart, though, as the story continues to unfold, mainly for two reasons. The first is that the movie picks up with another group of characters and introduces a whole new subplot making the picture feel a bit disjointed as it cuts back and forth between the well established Cassie and the underdeveloped story of other young survivors who have been drafted by the military. The two storylines simply don’t play well off of each other and feel like they’re from different movies.

The second problem is that the movie painfully takes a very long stroll down the all too familiar dystopian young adult genre. As the movie enters the second and third acts, there was a feeling like the movie was losing its grip on being a tale of survival and began focusing more and more on a simple, rushed love triangle .

As for the acting, the major highlight is the lead actress, Moretz, who throws her all into the role and does in fact have some solid scenes. What’s really a shame about her performance is how limited it feels because of the less than stellar script which doesn’t include much humor or energy.

The supporting cast in the film is fine, but many of their characters fall into familiar archetypes. For example, Alex Roe just plays the mysterious stranger, Nick Robinson plays Cassie’s crush and Arthur plays the timid younger sibling who doesn’t get near enough development. Like Moretz, the script feels too limiting for these characters.

As for visuals, the movie does offer some neat special effects here and there. However, the action is lacking because of how its shot in many scenes. In many of the action sequences, it was either too dark or there were too many cuts to actually see what’s going on.

There were certainly some good ideas in “The 5th Wave” and maybe the novel it’s based off of is stronger, but the movie simply lacked in terms of execution. There might be just enough to keep someone entertained if they were to rent this one, but for the most part, audiences can skip it. Low 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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